France proposes restrictive classification for CBD in EU cosmetics products

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France will seek restrictions on CBD as an ingredient in cosmetics products in a proposal now before EU authorities. 

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) announced that France intends to propose “harmonized classification and labeling” (CLH) for CBD, which could, theoretically, lead to the elimination of skin-care products that include the compound in their formulas.

The proposal, based on CBD’s “toxic potential for reproduction,” is in accordance with the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation, the EU’s legislation that addresses the manufacture, import and use of chemicals.

Current status

CBD is not currently covered by the EU Cosmetics Regulation, however, the European Commission in 2021 updated the cosmetic ingredient database (Cosing) to include an entry for CBD naturally derived from the hemp plant for use in topical products. Later that same year, the Commission added hemp-derived cannabigerol (CBG) to Cosing. (CBG is known as the “mother” or “OG” cannabinoid due to the fact that it is the precursor to CBD and all other cannabinoids such as CBN (Cannabinol), CBC (Cannabichromene), THC and THCA (Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid).)

The additions of CBD and CBG to Cosing came after a 2020 French case in the European Union Court of Justice ruled that CBD cannot be regarded as a narcotic, and may be sold in and among EU member states.

The ruling also held that CBD can be classified as food if it meets relevant provisions in EU legislation. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is now in the process of reviewing various forms of CBD to approve them for EU markets under rules for novel (new) foods. Nonetheless, EFSA has repeatedly said the safety of CBD as a food “cannot currently be established,” citing concerns over the compound’s effects on the liver, gastrointestinal tract, endocrine system, nervous system, and on psychological well-being.

More questions

Now, with France seeking the restrictive CHL categorization for CBD topicals, safety questions have been extended to non-food products. Based on the filing from France, the EC early this month issued a call for data to go into documentation for the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (CSSC). 

That’s not necessarily all bad, according to Daniel Kruse, President of the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA). 

The CSSC is to provide an opinion on the safety of CBD, taking into account trace amounts of THC and other cannabinoids which may be in the products.

“The adoption of the CSSC mandate is in principle a good thing, as CSSC will look at all available data and studies,” Kruse said. “EIHA will submit extensive data and studies as well as risk and safety assessments.”

EIHA is already working on toxicological and other studies regarding CBD safety in food.

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